Harimau Malaya can beat Kyrgyzstan and Taiwan

Malaysia will open Group D of the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers against Kyrgyzstan on Thursday (16 Nov) at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil

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Harimau Malaya can beat Kyrgyzstan and Taiwan - MX Graphics.
Harimau Malaya can beat Kyrgyzstan, Taiwan but it's 50-50 against Oman - MX Graphics.

PETALING JAYA — Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin is optimistic that Harimau Malaya will be able to defeat Kyrgyzstan and Taiwan in Group D of the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers.

He said the odds were seen to be more evenly balanced for the Kim Pan Gon-led squad when facing Oman, especially when the opponents visit here next March for the Qualifiers.

Based on the performance of Harimau Malaya in recent times, Hamidin said that, so far, he is more than 50 per cent confident of the overall chances of the national team to advance to the next stage of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers (which double up as a qualifier for the Asian Cup).

“Our efforts are intensive enough and this team can ‘eat up’ Kyrgyzstan (world number 97) and Taiwan (world number 152) … Oman is 50-50 at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

“This is a test for Pan Gon since we will be playing home and away in the qualifying rounds.

“If you ask me, I am 55 per cent confident. As the (FAM) president, I have to be certain, this is not a passing remark, but everyone has to work hard, from coaches to officials, players and staff. However, that is… (our fervent hope),” he said here.

Harimau Malaya

He also challenged the players and coaching staff to make sure the team could advance as far as possible in the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers.

Malaysia will open Group D of the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers against Kyrgyzstan on Thursday (16 Nov) at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil before travelling to Taipei to take on Taiwan on 21 November.

World number 137 Malaysia are then scheduled to meet world number 72 Oman away on 21 March and at home on 26 March; Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek on 6 June and Taiwan on 11 June on home ground.

According to the competition format, the top two teams in the group will qualify for the third round of the World Cup qualifiers and qualify for the Asian Cup.

The third and fourth-placed teams will play in the third round of Asian Cup qualifiers.

Meanwhile, Hamidin demanded that the Harimau Malaya players maintain their consistency when facing Asian teams ranked higher than them.

“I can see that, when up against big teams, the spirit and confidence of the national team soars higher,” he said.

In the run-up, Malaysia had recorded encouraging results by holding two teams in the world top 100 to a draw, namely Syria (2-2) and China (1-1) in Tier 1 international friendlies in September, followed by a 4-2 win over India (world number 102) at the 2023 Merdeka Tournament last month. — Bernama

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